USSF Announce Open Cup Format and Schedule for 2011
When the North American Soccer League was provisionally sanctioned to run Division-2 soccer last weekend, there were questions regarding the eligibility of the 5 U.S.-based teams and if they would be able to participate in that tournament. When U.S. Soccer held their press conference on Monday, President Sunil Gulati confirmed that those five teams would not be able to play in the 2011 edition of the 97-year-old tournament.
“It’s simply too late to incorporate them into the process in the various phases of the tournament,” said Gulati. “The timing does not work for the five U.S.-based teams to participate in this annual event. It’s impossible to put them into it. They are not going to be playing this year.”
Since that statement U.S. Soccer has taken a lot of heat from different soccer websites and podcasts. So it was no surprise that the USSF released their schedule sooner rather than later to show they had indeed been working on the schedule. The early release of the schedule lends credence to what a source had told IMS. They said the schedule was being worked on after the NASL had lost their initial provisional sanctioning status on January 20, 2011. The NASL had originally been provisionally sanctioned at the November 2010 USSF board meeting.
“I know in the past the tournament has been announced later, but it’s also been announced earlier as well,” said Neil Buethe, U.S. Soccer spokesperson. Buethe spoke to Neil Morris of the Triangle Offense Blog. “The actual format was well along, and that’s the situation why NASL was not included, because they were still up in the air and we were making the final decisions on the Open Cup.”
Morris also spoke to NASL CEO Aaron Davidson concerning the decision. Davidson said he didn’t want his statement to come off wrong but he felt his teams needs to just “focus on our league right now.” He also explained that with most games played during weekdays and short lead times to promote the games, the US Open Cup is really not a money-making proposition for teams. “Let’s focus on NASL this year,” said Davidson.
As always Josh Hakala at The Cup.us does a great job of analyzing this year’s format and schedule.
The bottom line is this year’s tournament will look like this:
MLS (8 teams – First Division): Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC + 2 qualifying teams
USL Pro (11 teams – Third Division): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, FC New York, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Wilmington Hammerheads
PDL (9 teams – Amateur): Teams to be determined
USASA (8 teams – Amateur): Two finalists from each of the four regional tournaments
NPSL (4 teams – Amateur): Teams to be determined
Please visit The Cup.us for all things U.S. Open Cup.
Click read more for the full press release from US Soccer
Amateurs to Make Up More than Half of the Tournament Field;
Eight MLS Teams to Enter Tournament on June 28 in Third Round
CHICAGO (Feb. 17, 2011) – The 98th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will get underway on June 14 with 16 first-round games. Five rounds of play precede the Oct. 4 final that will decide the U.S. Soccer national club championship.
The more than 155 teams that entered the competition beginning in the initial stages will be narrowed to 40 teams for the tournament proper by the May 30 qualifying deadline. In 2011, 19 professional teams – including eight from Major League Soccer – and 21 amateur teams will make up the field.
The first and second rounds will be made up of exclusively lower division and amateur teams and will be played on June 14 and June 21, respectively, with eight teams advancing to play eight MLS teams on June 28 in the third round.
The quarterfinals will be played on July 12 and the semifinals will be played on Aug. 30. All 2011 U.S. Open Cup matches are scheduled to be played on Tuesdays.
The tournament has crowned a champion for 97 consecutive years beginning in 1914. Every winning team’s name is engraved on the base of the Dewar Challenge Trophy which dates to the first year of the tournament and currently resides at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago.
The two-time defending champion Seattle Sounders will enter the tournament in the third round and will be the first team since 1984 with a chance of winning three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles. The New York Greek-Americans (1967-69) were the only other team to accomplish this feat.
Like recent editions, the U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with games tied after regulation extended by two 15-minute overtime halves. If a winner is not determined in overtime, advancement will be determined by kicks from the penalty spot.
The 2011 champion will earn a $100,000 cash prize, while the runner-up will collect $50,000. The top Division III and Amateur Division clubs will each receive a $10,000 prize. No Division II teams will participate in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup as the North American Soccer League did not obtain provisional sanctioning in time to be included.
2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
May 30: Qualifying Deadline
June 14: First Round (32 teams from USL PRO and Amateur Division)
June 21: Second Round (First round winners)
June 28: Third Round (Second round winners paired against eight MLS teams)
July 12: Quarterfinals
Aug. 30: Semifinals
Oct. 4: Final
Major League Soccer (Division I – 8 teams): Six automatic qualifiers based on the 2010 regular season standings and two qualifiers from a play-in competition that features 10 teams.
Automatic Qualifiers (6 berths): Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders
Play-in Qualifiers (2 berths): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City
United Soccer Leagues PRO (Division III – 11 teams): All U.S.-based clubs automatically qualify.
Automatic Qualifiers (11 berths): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, FC New York, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Wilmington Hammerheads
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (Amateur – 9 teams): The top U.S.-based club from each of nine PDL divisions will qualify based on the results of four pre-selected 2011 regular season games. Each of the 54 teams eligible will play two home and two away matches that will serve as qualifiers.
U.S. Adult Soccer Association (Amateur – 8 teams): The first and second place teams from each of the four U.S. Soccer regions will advance to the tournament. Approximately 50 teams entered qualifying at the local or state level.
National Premier Soccer League (Amateur – 4 teams): The process for determining NPSL qualifying teams will be announced in the coming weeks. The 36-team national amateur league is affiliated with the USASA. In previous years its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.